Old friend Colin Kingsbury (who is the president of HRMDirect) sent along a note in response to the first article in this series.
” My take on social media is that while they present some unique modalities compared to other communication channels, they are not sui generis. For instance, consumer products have long had a 1-800 number to contact the company; most people do not think of this as a 1-to-1 relationship because it’s clear you’re connecting with a giant faceless organism. As online connections move from “Friends” to “Fans” and “Followers,” the relationship converges back towards the old mass-media broadcast model. To the extent that it doesn’t, I would argue that this is as much or more a result of a conscious decision by the company to allow deviations from brand orthodoxy and corporatespeak than any quality inherent in the medium itself.
What the Web does today is make this sort of thing much more pervasive and efficient. If Coca Cola says, “Post your video on Youtube and tag it MyCokeFan,” it will probably get a lot more responses than “mail your videocasette with #10 SASE to ….,” and the former makes them visible to all the world and not just the interns in the marketing department in Atlanta. And word-of-mouth, which has always been critical, is much more so in a world where every opinion is publicly posted and searchable. But all this means, as far as I can tell, is that maybe brands become somewhat less monolithic. This is significant, but it’s not revolutionary in the way that the rise of national and global brands were in the 19th century.
All of which is perhaps taking the long way around to saying that social media is simply another channel for connection and promotion, one that is better-suited for some purposes and worse for others, and investment in it will yield results in proportion to the quality, precision, and quantity of effort just like any other.”
The breathy popularization of social media for purposes beyond keeping in touch seems to be the province of the mostly unemployed. Meanwhile, critical problems, like the spectacular failure rate of the Recruiting profession remain unaddressed. This is the fabled Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS).
“It’s [SOS] not quite ADD/ADHD. It’s more that a new idea captures your imagination and attention in such a way that you get distracted from the bigger picture and go off in tangents instead of remaining focused on the goal. We think of a new idea, we hear of a great new gadget or marketing technique, and ZOOM, we’re off! There’s great energy and excitement in starting something new.
Of course what happens is that that everything always gets started, but nothing ever gets finished. In addition, countless hours and dollars are wasted in pursuit of the new, shiny object without having thought through whether this new item, technique, service or product is “right” for your business. (Shiny Object Syndrome. )
In the search for competitive advantage, SOS is an occupational hazard. The real trouble isn’t the Shiny New Object, it’s remembering why you started using it in the first place. A Social Media Siesta is just what I needed to think about what I was trying to do in the first place.